The colony of Carolina was settled by English settlers, mostly from Barbados. King Charles gave eight aristocrats a royal charter to settle Carolina (Carolina is Latin for “Charles land”) because earlier they had helped him regain his throne. Parts of Carolina (mostly the coastal areas) were colonized earlier by Spain, but battles between the Spanish and the Native Americans caused the Spanish people to retreat to Florida, Cuba, Mexico, and Central and South America. Carolina was settled to make profit from trade and also by selling land. John Locke, an English philosopher, wrote a constitution for the colony that covered topics such as land divisions and social rankings.
Carolina did not develop as planned. It split into northern and southern Carolina, creating two different colonies. It separated because of political reasons as the settlers wanted political power. In 1719 settlers in southern Carolina seized control from its proprietors. Then, in 1729, Carolina became two royal colonies- North Carolina and South Carolina. Farmers from inland Virginia settled northern Carolina. They grew tobacco, and sold timber and tar, both categories of naval supplies needed by England. The northern Carolina coast lacked a good harbor, so many of the farmers used Virginia’s ports to conduct their trade.
On March 26, 1776, the colony set up its own provisional government under the leadership of South Carolina President John Rutledge. On February 5, 1778, South Carolina became the first state to ratify the Articles of Confederation, the initial governing document of the United States. However, in 1780, South Carolinian loyalists to the British crown helped British troops recapture South Carolina from the previously successful rebels. On January 17, 1781, the Battle of Cowpens won by the American forces, marked the beginning of the decline in British fortunes. In 1782 they decided to evacuate their troops by the end of the year. Thousands of Loyalists and slaves left with them.
The current United States Constitution was proposed for adoption by the States on September 17, 1787, and South Carolina was the 8th state to ratify it, on May 23, 1788.
On December 20, 1860, when it became clear that Lincoln would be the next president, South Carolina became the first state to declare its secession from the Union. On April 12, 1861, Confederate batteries began shelling Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, and the American Civil War began. The Union Navy effectively blockaded Charleston and seized the Sea Islands. Planters had taken their families (and sometimes slaves) to points inland for refuge.
The Union Army set up an experiment in freedom for the ex-slaves, in which they started education and farmed land for themselves. South Carolina troops participated in major Confederate campaigns, but no major battles were fought inland. General William Tecumseh Sherman marched through the state in early 1865, destroying numerous plantations, and captured the state capital of Columbia on February 17. Fires began that night and by next morning, most of the central city was destroyed. After the war, South Carolina was restored to the United States during Reconstruction.
In the summer, South Carolina is hot and humid with daytime temperatures averaging between 86–93 °F (30–34 °C) in most of the state and overnight lows averaging 70–74 °F (21–23 °C) on the coast and from 66–73 °F (19–23 °C) inland. Winter temperatures are much less uniform in South Carolina. Coastal areas of the state have very mild winters with high temperatures approaching an average of 60 °F (16 °C) and overnight lows in the 40s°F (5–8 °C). Inland, the average January overnight low is around 32 °F (0 °C) in Columbia and temperatures well below freezing in the Upstate. While precipitation is abundant the entire year in almost the entire state, the coast tends to have a slightly wetter summer, while inland, March tends to be the wettest month and winter being the driest season, with November being the driest month. The highest recorded temperature is 111 °F (44 °C) at Camden on June 28, 1954 and the lowest recorded temperature is −19 °F (−28 °C) at Caesars Head on January 21, 1985.
Snowfall in South Carolina is somewhat common in parts of the state, with coastal areas receiving less than an inch (2.5 cm) annually on average. It is not uncommon for areas on the coast (especially the southern coast) to receive no recordable snowfall in a given year. The interior receives a little more snow, although nowhere in the state averages more than 9 inches (22.86 cm) of snow annually. The mountains of extreme northwestern South Carolina tend to have the most substantial snow accumulation. Freezing rain and ice tend to be more common than snow and rain in many areas of the state. Road bridges in South Carolina are commonly marked, “Bridge ices before road.”
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